The Strauss-Haas Effect

“Classic” Levi Strauss Jeans, as many people know, are what are known as “riveted jeans,” but what many people don’t know is that up until 1941, Levi Jeans were produced with an extra “crotch rivet” (a term which I presume is self-explanatory).  The most mundane explanation for this rivet’s removal is wartime metal rationing, but there’s another (admittedly apocryphal) story that I find more amusing.

It’s been said that numerous cowhands had complained for years about the crotch rivet, but it wasn’t until the then president of the company, Walter A. Haas, experienced the reason behind the complaints first-hand (so to speak), that the rivet was removed.  Like many a cowhand before him, Mr. Haas was crouched down near a roaring campfire on a chilly night, thereby directly exposing the crotch rivet to the fire.  Predictably, the rivet got more than a little warm . . . and stayed that way, and it was only a matter of time before the heat it had accumulated conducted into Mr. Haas.  (At this point I refer you back to the term crotch rivet.)  Following Mr. Haas’s experience, the rivet was not only permanently, but promptly, removed.

Be this story true or false, there’s an important moral in it, one I have dubbed the Strauss-Haas effect:

“Sometimes to get things changed, you have to get someone capable of making the change to experience for themselves why the change needs to be made.”


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